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August 5, 2021 8:51 am

In Face of Delta Variant, Israel Reverts to Stringent COVID-19 Restrictions

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Pedestrians wait to cross a street as Israel rescinds the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors in the latest return to relative normality, boosted by a mass-vaccination campaign against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tel Aviv, Israel April 18, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen. – Israel’s ministerial committee approved new restrictions on fighting the spread of COVID-19, announced the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

They are set to be instituted on Aug. 8 as a result of the uptick in Delta variant infection rates in the country, according to the PMO.

The restrictions include a reinstatement of the full “green pass” requirement for entry into various venues. According to this system, only people who are fully vaccinated, who have recovered from the virus or who present a negative coronavirus test from the previous 72 hours will be permitted to attend gatherings.

As of Aug. 20, the above will apply to children under the age of 12 as well.

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Mask mandates for outdoor events of more than 100 people are also returning, and the government is calling on those over the age of 60 to avoid gatherings with unvaccinated people in closed spaces.

In addition, government offices will operate with 50 percent of employees in person, and the other half working remotely. Private-sector businesses will be encouraged to do the same.

Also in the works, according to the PMO, is the enhanced enforcement of mask mandates and quarantining. Israelis traveling to a list of countries will be required to quarantine upon their return, regardless of their immunization status—a list that keeps growing as the Delta variant continues to spread internationally.

Israel is the first country to have begun administering a vaccine booster to its 60-and-over population after the majority of second shots were administered more than six months ago.

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